Friday, September 7, 2007

Smart Driving?

As I travel along in the interstate on my commute, or even around town,
my eyes tend to wander as far ahead as possible, and if traffic is slow,
I adjust my speed accordingly ahead of time. If there are lots of brake
lights, I try to guess how long it will take me to get there, how long
the congestion might last.

And I usually ease up on the gas and let physics take over to slow me
down a bit so that I don't need to brake too much, and if all goes well,
by the time I reach the backup, it won't be as bad as it was when I
first saw it.

There are three lanes on the interstate on my commute and normally I'm
in the slow lane. As I adjust my speed, there are (at times) other
drivers who zip right ahead in the other lanes and get stuck in the very
same congestion ahead of us. Lots of times, by the time I get up there,
I catch back up to the people who buzzed on past earlier.

It seems to me that my way is better. I don't understand speeding along
and continuing to press on the gas just to catch up with slower cars.
It seems to me that maintaining some sort of steady speed is better for
everyone in the long run. I feel that in my own way I am helping the
cars behind me to maintain speed and lessen the stop/go/stop/go
accordion action ahead.

Maybe I am turning onto one of those people that most other drivers
hate.

But wouldn't everyone rather maintain one speed instead of starting and
stopping and starting again in bursts? Yes, sometimes it's a steady
speed that's (shudder!) below the posted speed limit, but I'd rather go
60 and not stop than go 75, hit the brakes and slow to 30, and hit the
gas again to speed up to 70 just to hit the brakes again.

I argue that maintaining a steady speed helps us all, and also promotes
better fuel economy and probably less maintenance on our cars,
particularly in the brake area.

And it doesn't seem to make my commute any slower than if I were to
drive like a lunatic and swerve in and out of the lanes to get ahead.
Indeed, I often see those maniacs who pass me stopped in the fast lane
ten miles later as I putter on byin the slow lane.

It's just my thoughts on things today.

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